Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee (aka Tragic Bronson, aka The Most Interesting Man in the NBA, and star of That’s So JaVale) has apparently frustrated head coach George Karl to the point where it’s time he said something about it publicly. Karl spoke with the Denver Post about his entertaining-for-mostly-the-wrong-reasons young center:
“He’s got to understand that lazy and crazy isn’t going to make it work,” Karl said. “We want solid and we want fundamental, and we want spectacular but only when it happens, not forcing the action where sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t.”
McGee’s physical capabilities would make any GM salivate — a true 7-footer, ridiculous wingspan, tremendous hops — but regular appearances on SportsCenter’s Not Top 10 Plays and TNT’s Shaqtin’ A Fool often leaves even casual NBA fans shaking their heads in disbelief (though, at this point, is it still really disbelief?).
The Nuggets’ front office isn’t giving up on the 25-year-old. They rewarded McGee with a four-year, $44 million contract in the off-season, and Karl has paired him with veteran Andre Miller to anchor the Nuggets’ second unit — a decision which is playing a pivotal role in his development:
“JaVale is starting to look and play the way we need him to play,” Miller said. “Not all the time, but we see glimpses of it. I think he’ll make another step. There’s less of those scratch-your-head moments and more of those ‘now that’s what I’m talking about’ moments.
“He can be a dominant player, if given the chance. Right now, we’ve kind of got him on a string. He’s up and down, so we’re trying to get some consistency with him. He can do it. It’s just a matter of the people around him having the confidence to let him go out there, make his mistakes and play through them. I think he’s headed in a good direction.”
Deep down, we’re all rooting for JaVale — perhaps due to regular appearances on weekly blooper reels — and being surrounded by veterans on a winning team (neither of which he had in Washington) can only help.